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March 2019

How Fractional Ownership was born

The birth of the legendary concept that revolutionised private jet travel
The story behind NetJets’ journey to becoming the global leader in private aviation is one of hard work, innovation and the drive to provide the very best service possible. One of the defining moments in our story is the birth of fractional ownership, a pivotal development that played a key role in establishing NetJets as an industry leader, with more than 750 aircraft worldwide.

Explained easily

What is fractional or shared ownership?

Fractional ownership is when you purchase a portion or “share” of a specific aircraft instead of buying an aircraft outright or paying per journey. This share then equals a specific number of hours you can fly in that aircraft. It is a win-win, providing the immediacy and luxury of whole aircraft ownership, with none of the operational complexities and hidden overhead.

How did fractional ownership first come about?

Fractional ownership was first introduced by Richard Santulli alongside the launch of NetJets in 1986.

In 1984, Santulli purchased Executive Jets (NetJets’ predecessor) and used his background in computer-based modelling (and the abundance of flight data provided by the company), to create the concept of fractional ownership.

While sceptics thought that NetJets’ customers wouldn’t always be able to fly when they wanted or needed to, this assumption was immediately proved incorrect. The business grew from strength to strength, particularly following the recession of the 1990s and the plummet of the private-flight market. With businesses looking to reduce operating costs and individuals unsuccessfully trying to sell their aircraft, fractional ownership suddenly became a very appealing option.

The concept’s success drew the attention of legendary investor Warren Buffett —himself a NetJets owner since 1995 – and Buffett purchased the company in 1998, adding it to the Berkshire Hathaway empire. With Berkshire’s backing, NetJets has had unparalleled resources, allowing us to extend our lead in the private aviation industry.
Find out exactly how fractional ownership works here.

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